July 1, 2007
INTRODUCTION – A few weeks ago – in our ongoing series through the gospel of Matthew – we started chapter 5, which opens with the Sermon on the Mount. We learned on that day that Jesus Christ at this point was beginning to pave the way for the culture of His kingdom to be established upon the earth through His disciples. And that that culture was to be founded on the very life and character of Christ. We learned that His will for His disciples is that we walk in a lifestyle of blessedness, or joy or happiness, though not as the world defines happiness. This blessedness is a state of mind and heart that is from the inside out, and cannot be altered or snuffed out by adverse circumstances. It comes as a result – not of any set of favorable circumstances; but rather because of Christ like character that we have allowed the Holy Spirit to form in us.
The first of those characteristics we looked at last time was that of being “poor in spirit”. This characteristic in fact is the one that opens the door to all the rest of them. To be poor in spirit we learned is to be in constant awareness of how spiritually needy we always are. It is similar to being humble or broken, and it is the opposite of pride or self reliance or self sufficiency.
Today as we prepare to come to the Lord’s table and partake of communion with Him, I want to quickly touch on the next one in line, which we find in vs. 4 of Matthew ch. 5. “Blessed, happy, joyful are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Happy are those who mourn??? You gotta be kidding! How can a person mourn and be happy or joyful at the same time?
Well to understand and more importantly to experience this, you need to know this is not talking about the mourning that happens when someone close to us dies.
This verse is closely tied to the one before. To be “poor in spirit” has to do with the way we see ourselves, the way we think about ourselves. To “mourn” has to do with the way we feel about ourselves and specifically our sin; and I believe the sin of others.
James knew this and thus exhorted each of us to: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.” James 4:8,9
Two of the authors that I respect highly, who have written books on the Sermon on the Mount – both stated that there is no mention in scripture that Jesus laughed, but there is that he wept. When Jesus looked over the city of Jerusalem late in His ministry, He mourned because they were like “sheep without a shepherd.” He obviously had no need to mourn over His own sin, because He never sinned. But He certainly mourned over the sin of others and the wreckage that it caused.
Paul said to the church in Corinth, “I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.” II Cor. 12:21
O.K. so we should mourn over our own sin and the sin of others. But how does this make us blessed or happy or joyful? Well because it puts us in position to be personally and intimately ministered to by God Himself. It is only those who mourn, who experience the amazing and deep cleansing comfort of God. There is a level of experiencing His presence and fellowship, that only those who mourn will attain to. This morning when we come to the Lord’s table, I believe the Holy Spirit would have us mourn over our sin – sin that caused our beloved Christ to have to endure awful suffering and a horrible death – so that a complete and final solution for our sin might be provided for us.
If as you are meditating you have a scripture or a prayer that is along these lines, feel free to share it.